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Farmers take steps to cool down languishing livestock


Farmers in Italy are using unusual methods to counter the risk posed to their livestock by a heat wave that currently is sweeping Europe.

In the midst of the hottest July for more than a decade, with temperatures reaching about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, farmers in Italy have been installing fans, showers and air conditioners to help keep pigs and cows cool, Reuters reported.

View the Best Off Beat stories from June.

Farming group La Coldiretti said that Italian cows produced 13 million fewer gallons of milk than usual during the first 15 days of July while chickens laid between 5% and 10% fewer eggs.

Pigs also are suffering in the heat, La Coldiretti said, and are losing their appetite.

The situation is expected to get worse, the farmers' group said, with the arrival of an anticyclone weather system known as Charon.

Some animals have been drinking twice as much water than usual during the hot spell, Reuters said.

And it isn't just farm animals that have been suffering in the heat.

At Rome's zoo, animals were given ice-lollies in a bid to cool them down, the Telegraph reported.

Even their human cousins have been granted special treatment: Lawyers in Milan have been allowed to dispense with their usual heavy black robes during the heat wave.